On Monday, Parliament unanimously approved President Klaus Iohannis’s request concerning the triggering of a national referendum on the continuation of the fight against corruption and ensuring the integrity of public office.
The decision was adopted with unanimous votes, all political parties agreeing with the idea of a referendum.
Lawmakers decided to issue a favourable opinion on the Romanian President’s decision to trigger a national referendum on the continuation of the fight against corruption and ensuring the integrity of public office, with the recommendation that the question on the ballot paper should respect the Constitution of Romania, Law no.3/2000 on referendums, the Constitutional Court’s decisions in this field and the recommendations of the Venice Commission’s Code of Good Practices on Referendums.
The lawmakers’ opinion was consultative, so that starting on Tuesday the President can establish the details, including the question that will be put on ballot papers.
PNL’s Turcan: We must approve a referendum that would give citizens the chance to have a say against corruption and in favour of public integrity
During the debates, the Liberals announced they would vote in favour of a positive opinion on President Klaus Iohannis’s request to hold a referendum on the continuation of the fight against corruption.
“I would like our vote in Parliament today to be precisely understood. We must issue a favourable opinion on a referendum that would give citizens the chance to have a say against corruption and in favour of public integrity. This is the vote we must give and it deserves to be appreciated at its true value. Obviously, after what has been happening in Romania in recent days, people want the fight against corruption to continue and the percentage of those who support this is overwhelming. The Romanian President expressed his desire to listen to the verdict given by the many, not by a group of political favourites, to clarify the fracture between the current ruling coalition and the citizens on the issue of the fight against corruption. Of course, this opinion is consultative, but the signal that Parliament gives and that it will convey to Romanians is one of major importance and sovereignty belongs to the people. The referendum is one of the forms in which this majority expresses itself,” Raluca Turcan stated in Parliament.
According to her, the repealing of Ordinance no.13 does not result in the need to stop the referendum and the defusing of the situation, because at this moment “we have a parliamentary majority that is taking over the whole responsibility of the coup that the Government attempted.”
“Apart from this opinion, we have the obligation to clarify in Parliament the regime of the two ordinances – no.13 and no.14. PNL will vote for a favourable opinion on the referendum request. PNL will be by the side of the citizens who can express themselves with a clear signal, a clear voice, for Romania’s reorientation in this European path, for equality before the law, for the supremacy of law and for the real fight against corruption,” she concluded.
Parliament’s plenary meeting took place against the backdrop in which the 20-day deadline stipulated by law was about to expire.
The Lower Chamber’s and Senate’s joint Judiciary Committees adopted on Monday, with unanimous votes, a favourable report on President Klaus Iohannis’s request concerning the holding of a referendum, PSD’s Serban Nicolae stating however that the president’s initiative will cost approximately RON 250 million, funds not included in the 2017 budget.
PNL and USR lawmakers stated that they agree with President Klaus Iohannis’s request, which is “justified” and “warranted,” while UDMR Lower Chamber lawmaker Marton Arpad claimed that more details on the question set to be put on the ballot paper should be offered, otherwise “malfeasance in office” could be the end result.
Liviu Dragnea: President’s request on holding referendum “will undoubtedly receive greenlight”
PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated on Monday in Parliament that President Klaus Iohannis’s request concerning the holding of a referendum on judiciary matters will receive a favourable opinion, “without any kind of problem,” but this topic should not be “fetishized” in order not to be “killed off,” news.ro informs.
“The topic is permanently relevant, it’s just that it shouldn’t be fetishized. Because often when you fetishize a topic you end up killing it. Regarding the president’s request, in what concerns us there’s a favourable opinion without any kind of problem,” Liviu Dragnea pointed out when asked about the president’s request on the holding of a referendum.
On January 24, President Klaus Iohannis triggered the procedure for holding a referendum on judiciary matters, and sent a letter to Parliament in this sense.
“On Tuesday, January 24, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis triggered, in line with the provisions of Article 90 of the Romanian Constitution, the procedure concerning the holding of a national referendum that would give the people the opportunity to express their will on the following issue of national interest: the continuation of the fight against corruption and ensuring the integrity of public office,” the Presidency announced at the time.
In line with the Referendum Law, Parliament had 20 days to issue a consultative opinion on the referendum triggered by the president. In case the 20-day deadline was not met, the consultation procedure would have been considered fulfilled.